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When parenting a young family, the word “stress” is probably a part of your everyday vocabulary. Life goes fast when changing diapers, chasing a 2-year-old, and running your 5-year-old to soccer practice.

When do you take care of yourself during the scurry of all these tasks?

The thought of last night’s dishes being left in the sink or the pile of laundry yet to be put away can sometimes ruin your day.

Why is it that these little things stress us more than others? Because the little things add up. It’s not only the dirty dishes or the laundry, but it’s also the smear on the kitchen table from last night’s spaghetti, it’s the half-a-cup of juice that’s been sitting in the same spot for 3 days, it’s the shoes that remain where they were left last week after soccer practice. Yes, it’s the little things that stress us.

Well, here’s some advice that I’ve learned over the years. Leave it! Yes, leave it. Do what you need to do at that moment in time, and the little things can wait.

Your child needs you. YOU need you. Take the time, that flies by so fast and read to your baby, put a puzzle together with your 7-year-old, dance with your toddler to some silly songs. Take a bath and read a few chapters of that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand gathering dust.

Believe it or not, once you get the IMPORTANT stuff like this done, the energy you think you’ve exhausted is actually regenerated. Once you’ve had time to really enjoy yourself and your little ones, the clothes on the floor and the dirty dishes in the sink don’t seem so hard anymore.

I believe the guilt we have as parents is real. Take the time with your kids now, in the present moment, and let the other things slide for a while.  You’ll actually enjoy those chores, once you know you’ve fulfilled your child’s love bucket and they’ve fulfilled yours.